Fuse #8

Friday, April 21, 2006

Rant Time. Good Old Friday Rant Time.

Bad news, kids. I'm obsolete again. Yes, today it was science fiction writer Bruce Sterling who was the soul brave enough to hammer the last nail in the coffin. Says Sterling:

"My students ... and I went to teach because I wanted to learn from the young people, they're half my age, they wouldn't dream of going down to the library to research something, they Google it first, they Wikipedia it, failing that they look for someone who's got a work blog in their line of work, and then maybe they'll go down and crack a few canonical texts down at the library. These are the professionals of tomorrow and these are already their reflexive working habits. That's just how they learn about stuff because it's faster, it's cheaper, you get up to speed and the quality of the data is better. It's a no contest thing."

Aw, what a shame. And here I had this silly little idea that the internet was full of gook. Thanks to Sterling, however, I now know that "the quality of the data" one finds online "is better". Who knew? And here I thought that Google was sometimes misleading or unreliable. Or that when kids are taught how to use library databases and online searches they come up with better information than old anyone-can-post-anything-online Wikipedia and Google. Fortunately, Mr. Sterling has the situation well in hand and has let me know that I shouldn't really bother signing kids up with library cards at all. Those 50 kids reading in my children's room at this very minute? Apparently they are apparations. So much for that MLIS degree I've been paying for.


At 6:33 PM , Blogger Becky said...

(sigh) Something else that makes me glad we homeschool. The teachers and principal of the local school seem to have an unnaturally high regard for the tools that are computers, at the expense of the worlds that are books (and no surprise that they are busily getting rid of the books in the library to make room for more monitors).

At 11:51 AM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

There was an amusing little article in this week's "Entertainment Weekly" that was entitled, "The Future of Your Living Room". Looking like an article that was dusted off from a piece published in the early 90s, it went on to describe how there will be no more books in the future. "There's still something satisfying about a book or magazine ... [but they might] be available on cheap portable tablets". Cause after all, screens are so pleasant on the eyes.

Sheesh. Doomsayers have been predicting the end of paper since the birth of the home computer. Forgive me if I don't glance at the e-book with anything resembling fear at the moment.


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